ORE DRESSING & RECLAMATION
Historical and archaeological study of ore milling and copper reclamation in the Lake copper district of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, focused on Torch Lake.
Historically, Torch Lake was the center of copper ore benefaction in the Lake District. The Calumet & Hecla Mining Company built two mills at the head of the lake, at Lake Linden. Quincy Mining Company's mills and company town of Mason were located at the southern end of Torch Lake, with other mills such as the Ahmeek, the Osceola, and the Tamarack in between. It was in these facilities that ore brought up from mines was pulverized and concentrated into copper-rich "mineral," which was then transported to the smelter to be melted and cast into ingots of pure copper.
In the 1920s, at Lake Linden, Calumet & Hecla began dredging the waste sands from its early milling operations and reprocessing them using more advanced machinery to reclaim copper the older machines had left behind. Quincy opened its own reclamation plant at Mason in 1943.
Remnants of structures associated with milling and reclamation can be found along the length of Torch Lake's western shore. Most are in fragmentary condition. Quincy's No. 2 dredge, visible from state highway 26 at Mason, is among the most evocative of the industrial remains in the Lake Copper district.
Past work on milling and reclamation includes "History and Interpretation of Quincy Milling and Reclamation at Torch Lake." Co-authored with Prof. Carol MacLennon of Michigan Technological University for the Keweenaw National Historical Park, the report comprises an extensive historical narrative and interpretive recommendations for the Quincy milling and reclamation sites at Lake Linden.
In progress is a series of wayside signs interpreting the structural remains of Calumet & Hecla's mills, reclamation plant, and waste sand deposit at Lake Linden.
QUINCY MINING COMPANY'S MILLS AT MASON
CALUMET & HECLA'S MILL AND RECLAMATION PLANT AT LAKE LINDEN